Egyptian Walking Onions are perennial onions that reproduce by growing a bulb, or set, of onion seeds atop their stalk. The set of new onions then become too heavy for the stalk, and the stalk falls over—thus dispersing the new onion plants in the ground. In this way, the plant will “walk” across your garden if you let it. Mature plants will also reproduce by dividing their bulbs. A patch of Egyptian Walking Onions can get quite large!
I originally decided to give these onions a try because I had hoped that the sets or the bulbs of the mature onion would be large enough to utilize in cooking. (Ha, no go!) The sets can be very small; the larger ones are about the size of a nickel. The bulbs of the more mature plants are about an inch in diameter. The onions are perennial, but if you eat the bulb, well, they obviously can’t come back next spring. Although the onions bulbs and sets are quite edible, the effort doesn’t seem worth the reward to me.
What these onions are great for, however, are for use as green onions in cooking. The stalks have a lovely oniony scent without being too overpowering. My husband once snapped a stalk off and eaten it in the garden while we worked. The onions experience two growth cycles where they are perfect for harvesting: spring and fall. In the summer, the stalks are much tougher, but they are still usable as green onions for cooking.
These onions are also quite hardy. I have pulled apart bulbs without an ounce of anxiety for the roots systems and shoved them into the dirt haphazardly, and they have flourished. I’m nigh well convinced that I cannot kill them because they are so hardy!
We did decide to relocate the walking onions from our raised garden beds this weekend. Because the walking onions are so durable, we planted them in the ground near some of our fruit trees. We wanted to keep them around for whenever we need some green onions, but our garden-bed real estate is frankly too valuable for these walking onions.
If you’re interested in giving some walking onions a try in your own garden, I have some baby ones that need a home for the fall! Alas, you must be a local; they’re already growing and cannot be shipped.